How to Address a Letter

Whether you’re writing a personal or professional letter, be sure you address it appropriately so it reaches its intended destination. Furthermore, you probably don’t want to anger the receiver by choosing the incorrect title. Fortunately, properly addressing a letter is a straightforward task. All you need are your name and address, the selected title of the receiver, and their name and address.

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Method 1: Writing an Address on an Envelope

In the top left corner of the envelope, write your name and address. It is critical to include your own address on the letter so that it may be returned to you if it cannot be delivered. In the top left corner of the envelope, write your name using a pen or pencil. Put your street address or P.O. box under your name. Put your city, state, and zip code below your street address.

  • Your address would be written as follows:
  • 123 Scenic Drive, Houston, TX 77007 Tyler Hamilton

In the centre of the envelope, write your recipient’s entire name. Include the preferred title of the individual, such as Mr., Ms., or Dr. Then, capitalize the initial letter of each name and spell out their first and last names.

  • If you’re writing to a couple, use their full names unless they want to be addressed as Mr. and Mrs.
  • For a casual letter, put down the family name, such as “The LaCour Family.” If you’re writing a formal letter to a family, put the parents’ titles on the first line, followed by the children’s names on the line below the parents. On the first line, you may put “Mr. Micah and Ms. Sarah Smith” and on the second line, “Callie, Mindy, and Seth.”

For a business letter, put the firm name on the following line. If you’re writing a personal letter, you don’t need to include the business name. However, if you’re writing a letter for work, it may assist your message reach the right person. Place the firm name underneath the recipient’s name on the line.

  • You might write “Bayou Enterprises” or “University of Houston.

Directly under the recipient’s name, write their street address or P.O. box. Write the street address number first, followed by the street name. If you’re sending a business or official letter, spell out the complete street name rather than abbreviating it. Also, capitalize the initial letter of every word.

  • In a business letter or formal, you’d write “Laurel Avenue” rather than “Laurel Avenue.”
  • It’s OK to write “Hamilton St.” or “Liberty Ln.” in a personal letter.

Put an apartment or office number on or below the address line. Some addresses contain a house or apartment number. Include this information exactly after the street name or on the line below it to guarantee your letter arrives. Identify an apartment as a “apt.” or “apartment.” If you’re sending the letter to a workplace, use “office” or “suite.”

  • You may type 123 Liberty Lane Apt. 3 or 555 Laurel Avenue Suite 44.

Below the street address, provide the city, state, and zip code. Write the city, followed by a comma, just below the street address. Then enter your state and zip code. Make sure the city and state are capitalized.

  • For example, you may write “Orange, TX 77630.”
Tip: Each zip code has an additional four-digit code after it. The additional four digits may be found by entering the zip code into the USPS website. If you write these numbers on your envelope, your letter will come sooner.

For an international letter, write the country name after the address. If you’re sending international mail, you simply need to indicate the country. If appropriate, provide the name of the nation in which your receiver resides exactly under their address. Write the country’s name or abbreviation in all capital characters.

  • You might type “USA” or “UNITED KINGDOM.”

In the upper right corner of the envelope, place a postage stamp. Unless you add postage, the postal service will not deliver your letter. To ensure that your envelope arrives at its destination, place a stamp in the top right corner.

  • When shipping a letter overseas, use an international stamp to ensure proper postage.

Method 2: Choosing the Right Title for Your Recipient

Unless they prefer Ms. or Miss, address women as Ms. Addressing letters to women may be challenging since etiquette is changing as gender roles shift. Ms. is a suitable title for all women and the most secure choice when addressing a professional. For ladies, always use Ms. as your default title. If you know your recipient likes it, use Miss or Mrs.

  • For example, you might write to Ms. Veronica Johnson or Miss Alyson Meyer.
Tip: If you're writing a casual letter, you usually don't need to use titles.

Men of all ages should dial Mr. It’s simple to address letters to males since you may always use Mr, regardless of the recipient’s age. Always use Mr. for a male unless the receiver wants another title.

  • “Mr. Todd Smith,” you’d write.

If their gender is uncertain or they are gender neutral, leave off the title. If you’re writing a letter for employment or to apply for a job, you may not know someone’s gender. Similarly, you could sometimes write to someone who is gender neutral. If this is the case, use their entire name without the title. If you write down both their first and last name, it is still considered official.

  • “Dear Lisa Jensen,” you could write.
Variation: Some gender-neutral persons choose to use the term Mx. If you know the person you're writing to favors this title, use Mx.

If your receiver has a professional title, use it. Respect for professional titles such as Dr., Reverend, or Honorable is essential. If the receiver has a professional title, address them with it. If you’re writing to a couple, always put the highest-ranking title first.

  • “Dr. Ashley Matthews and Mr. Sam Matthews,” for example, or “Honorable Kennedy Jones.”
To be on the safe side, refer to someone by a higher rank if you are unsure about their title. For example, suppose you're writing a letter to a college professor. Even if you're not sure whether they hold a PhD, you may use "Dr." as their title.

If the addressee is unknown, use a job title or “To Whom It May Concern.” When sending a business or cover letter, you may not know who the receiver is. If this is the case, provide the name of the job position you’re applying for. If you’re unsure about the job title, use “To Whom It May Concern” as a catch-all phrase.

  • If you’re seeking for a job, you may write, “Dear Human Resources Manager.” If you are unsure whether or not there is a human resources manager, you may write, “To Whom It May Concern.”
If you don't know the recipient's name or job title, you may alternatively provide the name of the department you're writing to.

Method 3: Formatting the Top of a Formal Letter

In the top lefthand corner of the letter, write your first and last name. When writing a formal or professional letter, always use your entire, unabbreviated name. If you have a popular name or believe you could be mistaken with someone else, add your middle initial or another identifying element, such as the suffix, “Jr.”

  • It’s OK to write a casual letter to a friend or loved one using a shorter version of your given name or a nickname, such as “Chuck” or “Shorty.”
  • Some variants of the traditional business letter require the sender’s name to appear in the signature at the bottom of the letter rather than at the top of the return address. Both forms are fine; choose the one you like.
If you're a doctor, elected official, or member of the clergy, you may place your formal title before your first name. In this situation, instead of merely "Ichabod Sneed," write "The Reverend Ichabod Sneed."

On the following line of a business letter, provide the name of your firm. If you’re sending the letter as part of your employment, put your employer’s name on the line just under yours. That way, your receiver will immediately understand who you represent and why you are writing.

  • If you believe it would be beneficial to your recipient, write your official title or position on a separate line underneath your employer’s name.
If you want to leave your name out until the signature, the name of your firm or business will appear on the first line of the sender's address.

On the line underneath your name or company name, provide your street address. Begin with the street number, followed by the street name. In the address line, be sure to spell out the whole name of the street. In other words, you’d write “Mulberry Lane” rather than “Mulberry Ln.”

  • If available, put your apartment or office number following your street address, as in “2529 Cypress Row, Apt. 5D.” Your address line informs your recipient where you’re writing from and also provides a particular location to which they might send a letter if they desire to write you back.

Substitute your city, state, and zip code for your street address. Write the city name first, followed by a comma. Put your state and zip code after the comma. Make sure to capitalize and spell your city and state accurately.

  • The state and zip code, unlike the city and state, should be separated by a space: “Santa Carla, California 95000.”

If your letter is for work, provide your phone number and/or email address. It’s great to provide your phone number or email address so the receiver can reach you. If you want to include both pieces of information, put your phone number first, followed by your email address on a different line.

  • If you wish to include both your work and personal phone numbers, put the second number on a different line and use the prefixes “Work:” and “Cell:” to distinguish between the two.
  • There’s no need to provide your phone number or email address if you’re sending a message that you don’t expect to get a response to, such as a letter to the editor or a complaint to one of your local MPs.

Skip a line and fill in the date. After your address, leave a space and then enter the date of your letter. Spell out the month’s entire name, followed by a numerical day and year. For example, you’d write “November 5, 2019” rather of “Nov. 5, 2019” or “11-5-19.”

  • If you wrote your letter over many days, enter the date on which you finished it.
  • While not technically required, mentioning the date positions your letter inside a certain time period, which might be useful if it includes time-sensitive information.

On a new line, write your recipient’s name below the date. If you don’t know the person’s complete name, simply use their surname and an appropriate title, such as “Mr.”, “Dr.”, or “Chancellor.” For a more official or respectful impression, use the recipient’s title in addition to their entire name, as in “Mr. Peter Walsh.”

  • If your receiver is female and does not hold a formal title, use her preferred manner of address (“Ms.,” “Mrs.,” or “Miss”) to avoid coming off as arrogant. If you’re not sure what her given name is, the safest bet is “Ms.”
  • Double-check the spelling of the person’s name to ensure accuracy. Misspelling someone’s name may be seen as careless at best and rude at worst.

If you’re writing a business letter, provide the recipient’s work title. The following sentence should be used to recognize your recipient’s position, office, department, or specific authority. The title line expands on the information contained in the name line.

  • Remember that you only need to include a title line if your purpose for writing is related to your recipient’s profession or occupation.
If you don't know the official title of the individual, just replace the name of the department or division in which they work.

In a business letter, provide the name of the firm for which your addressee works. Give the entire name of your recipient’s employer or the exact entity that they represent on the line underneath their title. This allows you to route your letter to the appropriate person in the appropriate department. It also signifies that your letter is official.

  • This line is not just for the names of corporations and enterprises. It may also be used to institutions like “The University of Alabama” or “The Hollingsworth Museum of North London.”

In the next two lines, provide your recipient’s entire address. In a business letter, use your recipient’s work address; in a personal letter, use their home or private address. Make a separate line below the street address for the city, state, and zip code.

  • Before sending your letter, double-check your address lines to confirm they are right. If you provide the erroneous street name or postal code, your mail may not be delivered.
  • When addressing an overseas letter, include a last line with the country’s name in all capital letters.

How do you properly address a letter?

In the upper left corner, write the return address.
Then, on the bottom half of the envelope, write the recipient’s address slightly centered.
Finally, insert the stamp in the upper right corner.

What is an example of a address?

An address is defined as a written or vocal declaration, or the actual location of anything. The President’s Inaugural Address is an example of an address. An example of an address is 123 Main Street, New York, NY 10030. to focus one’s efforts or attention (oneself).

Which address is first in a letter?

In the upper right-hand corner of the letter, write the return address. Starting below your address, write the interior address on the left.

How do you address a letter to someone you don’t know?

When you don’t know the person’s name, the formal form is ‘Dear Sir,’ however many people prefer ‘Dear Sir or Madam.’

What to say instead of to whom it may concern?

“Dear [First Name]” or “Dear [Mr/Ms/Dr/Professor] [Last Name]” Be mindful of how you use pronouns.
“Dear [Job Title]… “Dear [Team or Department],” etc. … \s“Greetings,” “Hello” or “Good day”

How do you address someone in a formal letter?

Begin your greeting with “Dear,” followed by a personal title, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” If you know the complete name of the receiver, you may add to the formality of the letter by beginning with “Dear,” followed by a personal greeting, such as “Dear Ms. Levatson.”

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